Today I'm honored to have Brandon Vogt guest posting for me. Brandon is a Catholic writer and speaker who blogs at BrandonVogt.com. He's also the author of The Church and Media: Blogging Converts, Online Activists, and Bishops Who Tweet and the top hit on Google for "greatest evil in the world". He's the new content director at Word on Fire, working alongside Fr. Robert Barron, and his newest book, Saints and Social Justice, will be released in March of 2014. He gives away books all the time at his blog and he was kind enough to gift me with a copy of Fulton Sheen's autobiography, Treasure in Clay. Below is his review of Treasure in Clay, which he first published at Ignitum Today and recently gave me permission to reprint here.
Imagine that Justin Bieber and David Letterman each had prime-time television shows. Now imagine a Catholic priest preaching for an hour during the same timeslot, and attracting more viewers than both. That’s essentially what Venerable Fulton Sheen did back in the 1950’s. His “Life Is Worth Living” TV show aired opposite those of Frank Sinatra, the iconic singer and actor, and Milton Berle, widely known as “Mr. Television”. With magnetic preaching and charm, Sheen garnered more viewers than either celebrity and even won an Emmy Award for Most Outstanding Television Personality.
I’ve said before that Ven. Fulton Sheen was the twentieth-century’s greatest evangelist. He reached non-Catholics and inactive Catholics better than anyone I know. I also think he was the century’s most fascinating Catholic. Sheen was a key participant at Vatican II, author of more than sixty books, a masterful orator and preacher, and a global missionary. And that's not mentioning his electronic outreach, for which he's most famous, that drew over thirty million people each week.Back in September, I attended a special Mass of Thanksgiving in Sheen’s hometown, Peoria, IL, celebrating his recent venerability, and to prepare, I finally read his autobiography, Treasure In Clay. I had read several of his other books but his autobiography is now my favorite of the bunch.
Treasure in Clay is basically a book of stories. It's packed with tales from Sheen’s childhood, his university years, and his 60-year priesthood. His absorbing storytelling provides behind the scenes glimpses at Vatican II, his many conversations with popes, reflections on his unwavering daily “holy hour”, and thoughts on his deep love for Our Lady, to whom he dedicated all his work.
Treasure in Clay also offers several stories from Sheen’s time as National Director of the Society of the Propagation of the Faith. The role put him in charge of the American Church’s international missionary activity and took him around the world. Throughout his time as Director he preached, ordained, served, and galvanized thousands of people in dozens of countries.
With such a diverse collection of stories, this book has something for everyone. If you want to become a better preacher, Sheen's got several tips. If you’d like to deepen your spiritual life, he’s got suggestions there, too. And if you want to become a better evangelist, you can't do better than Sheen.
As we roll forward into the New Evangelization, the Church has few better patrons than this singularly gifted New Evangelist. This year, read Treasure in Clay to learn from a priest, a teacher, a mystic, and a missionary who will, hopefully, also soon be recognized as a saint.
Another great article by Brandon on Venerable Sheen can be found over at Ignitum Today, Fulton Sheen's Secret to Evangelization.
And now please join me in praying the second day of novena for Sheen's canonization.
Novena Day 2
“Protestants, Jews and Catholics have God, morality, and religion in common. In the name of God, let us – Jews, Protestants, and Catholics – do two things: 1. Realize that an attack upon one is an attack upon all, since we are all one in God; it is not tolerance we need, but charity; not forbearance but love. 2. Begin doing something about religion, and the least we can do is say our prayers; to implore God’s blessings upon the world and our country; to thank Him for his blessings; and to become illumined in the fullness of His truth. There is entirely too much talk about religion and not enough action.”
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Lord, Fulton Sheen reached out to people of every religion. Help us to see others as You see them and to focus on what we have in common instead of our differences.
Prayer of Canonization, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be
Prayer of Canonization
Father, source of all holiness, You raise up within the Church in every age men and women who serve with heroic love and dedication. You have blessed Your Church through the life and ministry of Your faithful servant, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. He has written and spoken well of Your Divine Son, Jesus Christ, and was a true instrument of the Holy Spirit in touching the hearts of countless people.
If it be according to your Will, for the honor and glory of the Most Holy Trinity and for the salvation of souls, we ask You to move the Church to proclaim him a saint. We ask this prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen